Goals are one of those things that we’re told to have, but nobody really teaches us how to set them. We’re told to shoot for the stars, and that we’re able to do anything we set our minds to, and that’s great and all, but how the hell do we go about actually accomplishing them? Saying, “I want to be a state champion,” is a goal, sure, but it means nothing if the proper steps aren’t taken to ensure that you succeed.
See, there are two types of goals: process goals and outcome goals. Outcome goals are those long term type of goals that you want to achieve, like winning a state championship or scoring 100 takedowns in a season. They are like the destination that you are trying to reach on a road trip. How you get there, though, is through setting, and following through with process goals.
Process goals are the daily things needed to keep you on track to reach the long term destination. Nobody just wakes up and decides that they’re going to win Nationals in Fargo next July, then doesn’t do anything about it for the next 10 months, and rolls into the Fargodome and wins it. It just doesn’t happen. If you set an outcome goal like winning at Fargo next year, then you need to set daily process goals that keep you moving in that direction. It’d be like saying I want to drive to Los Angeles from Boston. Los Angeles is the outcome. Without a map or GPS, it’ll be hard to get there, but if you say I’m going to get to New York, then to Washington DC, then to St. Louis, then to Denver, then to LA, well now you have an actionable plan of attack.
Goals are the same way, whether it’s making the honor roll in school or winning a state title, or making the varsity squad, or squatting 400 pounds. Process goals are things that you have 100% control over. Maybe it’s studying the subject in school that you’re struggling with for 30 extra minutes a night. Maybe it’s deciding that you are going to drill 100 perfect double legs at club on Mondays every week, and then DOING IT, which in turn brings you closer to winning a state championship. Setting a process goal of eating vegetables at every meal this week is a process goal aimed at keeping your body in the best health and shape possible so you don’t have to cut an outrageous amount of weight once the season gets here. Setting a goal of doing 100 pushups every day is a process goal as well. These little process goals over time turn into habits, and well designed habits of excellence lead to achieving the long term outcome goals that we set, regardless of whatever realm they are in.
With both outcome and process goals, it’s imperative that they’re SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound. Without using this criteria, your goals will be all over the place and it’ll be difficult to decide whether you’re on the right track. Using the goal of winning a state championship, if you don’t have a time component attached to it, you can always say, “well, there’s always next year,” and before long, you’re out of years! If you are currently a JV wrestler and you say you want to win a world title in 3 months, well, that’s not necessarily attainable, so let’s set a more realistic one like making varsity first. If it’s not measurable, then how do you know if you’ve done it? Saying something like, “I’m going to do my best,” is one thing, but how do you know if you don’t make it specific and measurable? If you did, maybe you’d find that you didn’t give your best in ALL ASPECTS, ALL THE TIME!
Goal setting is important, and they should be written down somewhere where you can see them all the time. I put daily process goals in my phone every night for the following day in my “Reminders” app and click them off after they’re completed. Often times, they are redundant from one day to the next, but if they aren’t written down, THEY WON’T BE DONE CONSISTENTLY!
Set some goals so that you can channel your energies and focus into what really matters to YOU, and not spin your wheels doing a lot of stuff that doesn’t bring you closer to what it is that you actually want to accomplish. Over time, these daily goals become habits, and championship habits lead to championships!